Cow and calf in field© FLPA / John Eveson/REX

Plans for a £34m investment focusing on the creation of a centre of excellence UK livestock have won widespread support, say industry backers.

More than 80 companies and nearly 30 industry organisations have thrown their weight behind the bid to create a Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL).

See also: Agri-centre ‘will boost farm productivity’

The next step is for potential industry investors to refine the proposal during a workshop on 5 June at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), near York.

The overall industry-led submission is for a £34m investment in the UK livestock research and development sector and to establish a single UK-wide centre.

Money will be matched over five years by commitments from industry partners in the form of cash and in-kind investments in research.

Academic institutes will provide funding over five years to realise a total investment of more than £83m – equalling the money requested from government. 

“The support we have received from across the livestock industry has been fantastic. Everybody is committed to making this bid a success.”
Andrew Knowles, Bpex

Bid coordinator Andrew Knowles said: “This is a unique opportunity for the livestock industry to put itself at the front of global research and development.”

Livestock stakeholders

Mr Knowles is head of technical for the Bpex division of the AHDB.

The centre would bring together stakeholders from across the UK livestock sector, he said.

“The bid is now at the stage where the industry needs to take ownership to develop the CIEL bid. It is important for as many backers as possible to attend the meeting at Fera.”

Supporters included multinationals and small companies in the animal breeding, animal health, feed and nutrition and technology sectors.

Firms involved in the production, processing and marketing of livestock-derived products were also backing the project.

So too were UK levy boards, 12 UK research providers, veterinary service companies, veterinary schools and a network of research and development focused commercial farms.

Mr Knowles said: “The support we have received from across the livestock industry has been fantastic. Everybody is committed to making this bid a success.”